Speed-up at Boeing

Year Published:  1989  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX3656

Abstract:  An electrical installer at Boeing's huge Everett plant near Seattle, Washington has gone public with allegations of quality problems at the plant. Les Warby, who holds a degree in electronic engineering technology, cited failings in training and quality control, and regular misuse of tools. He described the examination given to precision workers at the end of their company training course: "During the exam the teacher said feel free to help one another, and then he left the room." The 20 students then collaborated on the answers to the paper. Only one man, who refused to join in with the others, failed. Routine use of improper tools is rife, according to Mr. Warby. Special crimping tools to connect wires in high-vibration areas such as around engines are regularly ignored in favour of a pair of ordinary pliers. After regular flying these connections could shake themselves apart. "The attitude seems to be we've got a hundred customers out there all screaming for their planes. Let's meet our quota. If we have a problem, don't worry about it, they'll catch it somewhere else." Mr. Warby was one of a number of Boeing employees and ex-employees to go public with similar allegations. Media attention focused on Boeing, the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the world, after several Boeing planes suffered serious and unexplained mechanical problems recently.
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